How Do You Go About Having a Teenager Babysit?

Updated on November 14, 2010
V.D. asks from Smithfield, UT
17 answers

I know a few good teens that like to baby sit. my kids are 3 and 1 and I've never had someone other than family watch them. It makes me kind of nervous. What do you guys do to insure you're leaving your kids with a good baby sitter? All what information do you leave for them? ie. schedule, emergency numbers. What else should I know about leaving my kids with a sitter?

What can I do next?

  • Add yourAnswer own comment
  • Ask your own question Add Question
  • Join the Mamapedia community Mamapedia
  • as inappropriate
  • this with your friends

Featured Answers



answers from Chicago on

i hate to say this. but i prefer a girl who's a little nerdy and not miss personality, because they DO text. the most important indicator for us is when they girl comes over for an "interview" watch how she interacts with the kids in front of you. if she doesn't, don't use her. learned that the hard way.

1 mom found this helpful

More Answers


answers from Dallas on

My almost 16 yr old babysits. She usually has the parent's cell numbers and the parents just let her know what is off limits for the children so the children won't get into something they know they are not supposed to.

When we had sitters for daughter, I did about the same. I made sure the sitter had our cell numbers and I kep my cell handy.

Of course you are nervous the first couple of times but it will be fine. Pay cash. My daughter does not "set" a price but she routinely gets $10-$15 per hour CASH. I know rates are different in different areas but that is the going rate around here.

When we used sitters, we had weekly date night and it was priority. We paid anywhere from $60-$80 cash per date night.

Pay well and you get a sitter that wants to come back.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

We have used a 14 year old that lives on our street and she went through a babysitting class that our city held and I felt like she was very prepared. She even gave ME a checklist of what she should know about our child and our house :) Of course I filled it out and it covered everything from phone numbers, emergency numbers, allergies, computer time, TV time (including what programs are allowed, etc.) ... So just think of your general rules, contact info, "schedule" etc. and put it down on paper for her.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Salt Lake City on

I want to hire a teen to babysit for me too! We just moved and haven't found one yet. I would just leave her your cell number, emergency number, INTERVIEW her first, and let her meet and spend time with your children before she's left alone with them!!
Let me know how it goes for you!

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Portland on

We use a 14yr old that is much more mature than most 18yr olds I know. I always leave a ready to eat meal, jammies out, and any snacks that the kids are allowed to have. I leave a detailed schedule (example - jammies on, brush teeth, potty, read bood, bedtime) for the time she will be there. I leave a list with our address on it in case she has to call 911, our numbers, and our neighbor's number. I also sometimes leave a fun activity or game that she can play with our son so he has something extra special to look forward to doing with her.

Since our sitter doesn't have a set rate, I discussed it with her and her mom to make sure they felt what we pay is fair.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

When mine needed babysitters I asked friends to recommend them to me. I also used the oldest girl of 4 across the street. I watched her with her sisters and she was very good with them. So she became my sitter too.

The people who have had my daughters babysit have also been good friends of mine. I make sure I am home when my now 13 would sit. I do not have to be around any more when my now 15 yo sits.

Have a teen come over and interact with your child while you are at home. Have something to do, like clean upstairs and she and the kids play outside. THen you can check up on them and see how she is doing.

My son took the babysitting class and was the most wanted babysitter when he was 12-14 ish. He would get out and play baseball and really run the kids. MOms loved him.

Make sure you have a list of your cell, the house address, a neighbor, and another emergency contact, maybe Grandma or an Aunt.
Make sure you have babysitter food. Chips and soda, let them know what is OK for them to munch on.
Do you want them to do any picking up? Have a list of what needs to be accomplished, what time is bedtime, are they to serve dinner, what the kids like before bed.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

The first time you may just want to invite the teen over (pay them for their time, of course) to meet your children for an hour or so and stay in the house so you can check on how things are going from time to time without hovering. I would also make my house rules clear to them, even if it may seem obvious to the teen (no talking on the phone, no inviting friends over, etc.) Ask them if they have any previous experience and check their references if they do. Leave all appropriate phone numbers for the sitter, and the name of a neighbor they might call if they need help. You may want to use the teen (at first) to stay with your children while you run some errands, gradually increasing the amount of time you spend away until you're totally confident in their abilities. Good Luck, and enjoy your respite!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Denver on

I use someone I know pretty well who has lots of younger she is nonplused by my kid's antics.

We leave all of our cell #s, the neighbor's #s in case she gets scared, and tell her anything else, call 911, then us. The key is that I know her pretty well.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Anchorage on

I make sure the sitter knows when to feed/put to bed, and I fix the food and get pjs out. I make sure that they have both my and my husband's cells, and that a parent will be home or they have the number of a neighbor in the off chance our phones were out of range for some reasons and they needed advice. When I use a new girl I only leave for an hour or two max to see how the kids do with her/like her.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Tampa on

I would just be CAREFUL and be sure that the teen is very trustworthy and knowledgable as to what to do in case of emergency. My husband teaches HS and we had the guidance counselor's daughter babysit...and my son told me that all she did was text on her phone all night. I am not by any means saying that all teens are like this...but I would be very choosy if I were you. You never know what is going on when your not there, or their true motive ($) is for caring for your precious ones. I am a SAHM who babysits all the time..and I am 29...not ashamed:) I have been doing it since I was too young to have that responsibility...honestly. I just thank God that nothing serious ever happened while babies were in my I would never have forgiven myself...even if it wasn't necessarily my fault ya' know. Our children are a gift...a gift that we should ALWAYS protect to the best of our ability. In the end...that teen can make that spending money some other way. I would rather not put my child in possible danger just so that they can go buy a new outfit at the mall. In my opinion there are plenty of loving, responsible, experienced SAHM's (like me) who could use the help to provide for our family in this tough economy. Plus, I LOVE it! So, contact me if your truly in need:) Again, I am not saying do not trust any teen....just be very selective-and very careful. Blessings to you and yours!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Atlanta on

I would ask them for a few names and phone numbers for the other people they babysit for. Also, have them over for a little bit to play with your kids while you're still there. That way you can see how they interact, and your kids will know that this new person is OK. I always leave a list on the counter or fridge with the following:
911 (always good to have a reminder!)
The address of your house in case they need to call 911
address and phone number of where you'll be (cell phones don't always get reception)
Kid's full names and birthdates
Any health info they may need to relate to someone
All medications they are taking and when last administered
Neighbor's names and phone number (if they need help for a non-emergency and you're friends with your neighbor, this might be nice!)

Don't worry, the babysitter will never need this info, but it's good to have just in case! Don't be afraid to call and check in. Good luck!
Pediatrician name and phone number

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Columbus on

The red cross offers a class, the girl scouts have a patch program and a badge, ask if they have done any of these, or ask them to take the red cross course before they sit. You might also have them sit for you as a mothers helper, with you there for a few hours, and give her a test run.


1 mom found this helpful


answers from Kansas City on

I agree with some of the other posters who said have them over first and do a little 'interview' which is for them as well.

As the mother of a teen (16 year old) who has been babysitting a few years, I'm surprised the # of people who call who we may have met once or twice at the pool but really don't have a clue who we really are as a family. Does that make sense? As much as YOU want your kids protected and cared for, I don't want MY daughter walking into domestic issues and out of control kids. Or the clingy kids who go nuts as soon as mom leaves, and we all know if we have them. If you've never had anyone but family watch your kids, they may feel uncomfortable with someone 'new' around them.

There is always 2 ways to look at things like this.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Austin on

I used to be a PTA President and people asked me all of the time for a Babysitter list.My list included 9th graders up to college aged girls/ young women and boys/Young men.

Many times, the local Churches have teen groups and some of those teens babysit.. Especially the ones that volunteer in the nursery.

Also at the high schools, the Drill Teams, the Bands and the National Honor Societies sometimes have Babysitter lists.

Some daycare teachers also babysit. You could contact a neighborhood daycare and ask if any of their teachers hire out at night or on weekends..

Also ask around at your church, your moms groups.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

i run a babysitting service. i am almost 27. have 30 families that i watch kids and night and weekends when the parents need me to (usually 5-6 sittings a week)

I am also a mom of a 7 year old. I have been babysitting since i was 10. Which when i look at it now is CRAZY but things were diff back then.

I wont even leave my daughter with an 18 yo. Just my opinion. I ran a daycare with 45 employees and 300 kids. Most of the girls were young 18-20 and most of them got fired. this is the reason i wont leave my daughter with one esp my if my kids were your kids i would never leave her with anyone that is 13-17.

who ever you choose make sure they their certificates in CPR, First Aid, Shaken baby Syndrome and SIDS. as well as training classes. Also meet with them first get a feel for them etc. Make them think that they are being watched through a hidden camera outlook etc... enforce the NO cell phone rule etc.

Ask them things like what would you do if a fire started? etc. make sure they know where the extengusher is and knows how to use it. no oven or stove cooking unless an adult.

would they know what to do if the 1 yo was choking which is a different thig then if the 3 yo was etc...

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Denver on

We've had three different teenagers babysit for our son. We knew all of the parents well, so we had no insecurities about the teenagers or their abilities. The first two lived close to us, and we had them come over just so our son could get to know them and they could meet him. Our son loves all of them, and we are very please with all as well. We just leave our cell numbers and the number of the restaurant, just in case. If there's really an emergency we would just want them to call 911, so we don't leave any other emergency numbers. We also have them come over a little early the first time so we can show them where everything is in the house and to show them the bedtime routine. Also, if we're having them come around dinner time, we always order in something for them to eat together.



answers from Colorado Springs on

We live on an Army post & there's a Red Cross sitter class the kids can take-I prefer RC sitters, but we've only had a couple of teen sitters. I use neighbor kids (usually parents are home in emergency), teens friends have used, & for the last ball we went to, a sitter a childless friend referred us to who is a daughter of a guy hubby works with.
When my boys were that little I usually traded sitting w/a girlfriend, but we did have a teen once or twice for both of them. Her mom was home & they lived down the street & we waited til they went to bed to go out that first time. I know that some people have teens sit while they're working in another part of the house (deep cleaning a bedroom, doing a "momspa" day, etc) to get everyone used to the idea.
I've got a paper in a kitchen cupboard I got several years back that's laminated & came w/a dry erase marker. It's got our names, address, phone numbers (it still lists pager, it's that old lol), 3 emergency contacts (I put neighbors who live close by), kids' allergies, hospital/fire/EMS/police numbers, kids' meds & where they are located, there's a spot for the number where we're going & estimated time line... I think that's it.
I left a schedule when they were younger, for my baby I always left an hourly one. Once they were on solid foods, I left a list of okay foods, meds & dosages (Tylenol/Motrin/cold meds-update dosages w/every doc visit), favorite toys & movies ("laki laki" was Mike Wozowski/Monsters Inc-my sitter would NEVER have figured that out!), when you want diapers changed (I babysat for a baby who was changed hourly & another they wanted changed when the diaper started sagging), snacks given & what, things they can watch & absolutely can't...

For Updates and Special Promotions
Follow Us

Related Questions